Munmun gets a life…                    Whatsapp Image 2021 06 07 At 5.24.09 Pm

The story we have to share is of a young girl and her family from Mori Gate, a small resettlement colony in East Delhi. Her family has resided in the Kucha Mohtra Khan area for almost 40 years now. The area has a huge population of 22 lakhs and is surrounded by many such populous places. 

Munmun’s family consists of her brother (23 years), the eldest of all siblings, two elder sisters and a younger sister (12 years) and her mother. Her father died when she was only five years old. Her brother and sister are both high school graduates. Despite being educated, her brother does not want to do any work and with the way things are due to the pandemic, he has no job. The family of 6 struggles to run on their mother’s meager pension of INR 2500.

The COVID-19 lockdown resulted in her brother losing his job at a local shop. Survival became hard for them and the health problems have added to their woes. Munmun’s younger sister suffered a severe burn injury right before the lockdown and her mother is ill most of the time. Munmun herself has had many health problems. Her illness was probably due to lack of nutritious food and rising stress.

Munmun dropped out of school when she was in the ninth grade. After two failed attempts, her mother got fed up and schooling stopped totally after she called up the school and asked them to give Munmun’s Transfer Certificate. From that day on, Munmun sat at home. Our field worker, Ms. Bindu met Munmun when she was out in the community looking for girls who had never been to school or had to drop out of school due to various reasons. When she met Munmun, she noted a strange sadness on her face. When I asked her why she left school, her mother said- “Munmun doesn’t have the brains to read”. When Bindu asked Munmun to come join BUDS, her mother vehemently refused. After much persuasion, Bindu was able to convince Munmun’s mother to let her enrol at the BUDS’ Centre. The initial deal was that Munmun will come for one session to our centre, if she likes it she can continue. If she doesn’t enjoy it and feels burdened, she is free to not come back. Luckily for us, Munmun enjoyed her first class very much, and is now one of the most regular students in the batch.

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“We’ve maintained constant contact with all our learners, in spite of the lockdown. The only difference is that now, it’s virtual. When we spoke to Munmun, she confided her problems to us. With such a low income and many mouths to feed, arranging two square meals a day had become a big task for them. Along with that, the family continued to face health issues but was too scared to go to the hospitals. When the number of COVID cases rose in Delhi, countless people, including Munmun and her family lived in fear of getting infected if they visited a hospital. Yet, there was illness in the family that required treatment.

BUDS provided Munmun a ration kit with supplies for 2 weeks. Multiple drives to distribute ration ensures our beneficiaires keep replenishing their ration in a timely manner. The online OPD run at the BUDS Centre (following COVID 19 prevention protocols) allowed her mother to consult a doctor and collect medicines for herself. Counselling and treatment is part of BUDS ongoing response to the second wave of COVID-19. Over 200 families, like Munmun’s, have benefited from this drive. And Munmun herself now has a life as a student to look forward to.

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*Name changed to maintain confidentiality